With the release of Nelson Mandela, the advent of nonracial democracy, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, South Africans have found themselves grappling with the legacy of apartheid's racial and cultural divisions. Together with Claudia Bathsheba Braude's path-breaking introduction, the stories collected in this anthology tap silences that were central to apartheid rule and that have particular resonances for South African Jewish history and memory. Bringing together the best and most noteworthy of a wide range of contemporary writers who represent the historical specificities and contradictions of South African Jewish life under apartheid, Contemporary Jewish Writing in South Africa makes compellingly clear the depths and complexities of a society in which racial identities, including Jewish whiteness, were deliberately constructed. The contributors include Nobel Prize-winning novelist Nadine Gordimer; well-known writers such as Rose Zwi and Dan Jacobson; exiled ANC activist and constitutional court judge Albie Sachs; satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys, a penetrating critic of apartheid; and actor and writer Matthew Krouse, whose fiction offers a provocative blending of gay and Jewish identities in the postapartheid era. The volume traces the construction of memory and racial identity in South African Jewish literary and cultural history. Among the recurring themes in these stories are the selective presentation of certain aspects of Jewish life under apartheid, a reevaluation of identity after its fall, and the conflicting shadow of the Holocaust in a white supremacist society. Giving nuanced voice to questions about history, race, and ethnicity in postapartheid South Africa, these stories will be of broad interest.
A freelance writer, Claudia Bathsheba Braude formerly served on the editorial board of Jewish Affairs. She coauthored the South African Human Rights Commission Interim Report of the Inquiry into Racism in the Media.
Contents - Introduction by Claudia Bathsheba Braude; Rose Zwi - excerpt from Another Year in Africa; Nadine Gordimer - My Father Leaves Home; Dan Jacobson - The Zulu and the Zeide; Sarah Gertrude Millin - Esther's Daughter; Barney Simon - Our War; Nehemiah Levinsky - In the Shadow of Nuremberg; Dov Fedler - excerpts from Gagman; Lionel Abrahams - Cut Glass; Maja Kriel - Number 1-4642443-0; Lilian Simon; - Help Us; Sandra Braude - Behind God's Back; Tony Eprile - Letters from Doreen; Pieter-Dirk Uys - Evita - the Legend; Albie Sachs - excerpt from Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter; Graeme Friedman - The Demobbing; Matthew Krouse - The Mythological Structure of Time; Acknowledgments